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Book Review: "Heading Out To Wonderful" Offers A Different Kind Of Love Story

Essencejoy Evangelista |
August 13, 2012 | 2:53 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Goolrick's latest novel, "Heading Out to Wonderful" (Algonquin Books)
Goolrick's latest novel, "Heading Out to Wonderful" (Algonquin Books)
Many of us have experienced a love gone wrong. The timing was off. The distance was hard. The person wasn’t right. But none of these reasons even begin to describe the illicit love told in Robert Goolrick’s  latest chilling novel, "Heading Out to Wonderful."

Set in the years after World War II, a young man by the name of Charlie Beale becomes the newest addition to the quaint town of  Brownsburg, Virginia. Beale causes quite a stir upon his arrival, but soon finds work in the local butcher’s shop and eventually befriends the owner's young son, Sam.

It is in this same shop that he becomes acquainted with all of the town folk and captivates the hearts of every single person with his unknowing charm, including the woman who will change his life forever: Mrs. Sylvan Glass. She is a country girl who was purchased by the town’s wealthiest and most disliked man, and spends her days dreaming of a glamorous Hollywood-esque life. 

The two begin a disastrous affair, with young Sam caught in the middle of it. And in a small town such as Brownsburg, everyone knows but is unwilling to address it, especially since it is known that Charlie is a happier man because of it.

Now grown, Sam reflects on the series of events that leads to the unexpected climax. This evocative novel leaves you with chills, leaves you wanting more of Charlie and Sylvan’s story, which hints at the darker and more possessive side of love.

Goolrick does an excellent job of giving the reader rich descriptions that can get someone’s imagination going, but it never overwhelmingly recounts every little detail like many of today's romance novels.

"Heading Out to Wonderful" is a cathartic read. In 291 pages, you are given the chance to completely absorb the heartache of the protagonist, but at the end of it, you can close the novel and feel more enlightened on the tolls of love without having to experience it yourself.

Daunting, tragic and extremely stimulating, the novel is a must have for those readers looking for a spin on the typical love story. 


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